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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Mystery over writer of Badrinath temple ‘aarti’ deepens as new manuscript surfaces

A government official has claimed that the famed Badrinath temple aarti was written by a local revenue collector Dhan Singh Bartwal, which is contrary to the popular belief that a Muslim devotee wrote the invocation.

india Updated: Aug 05, 2018 09:15 IST
Abhinav Madhwal
Abhinav Madhwal
Hindustan Times, Haldwani
Locals celebrating the opening of the Badrinath portals.
Locals celebrating the opening of the Badrinath portals.(HT File Photo)
         

The age-old belief that aarti, or invocation, of the famed Badrinath temple was written by a Muslim devotee named Badruddin has got a counter from a government official, who claims to have found the original manuscript of the invocation reportedly written by a local, Dhan Singh Bartwal.

MPS Bisht, director of Uttarakhand Space Application Centre, also said that locals in Rudraprayag believe that Badruddin could have merely been the singer and not the real author.

The Badri Kedar Temple Committee (BKTC), which manages the shrine, does not have any manuscript of the aarti sung at the temple, although a book reportedly written by Badruddin in 1867 and kept at a museum managed by writer Jugal Kishore Petshali near Almora, contains the lyrics of the invocation.

Now, Bisht has come forward with claims that he has “discovered the original manuscript” after one of his students, pursuing his doctoral research under his guidance, informed him about its presence in Rudraprayag.

“I asked him to provide me with the details and he promptly sent me a copy of the manuscript. I later realised that there may be truth in his contention. I will now take the manuscript to the secretary in the ministry of tourism, and officials in the culture department and the state archives department so that they can scrutinise the manuscript and bring the facts to light,” Bisht said.

According to Bartwal’s family, the manuscript was written by Dhan Singh, a village revenue collector, in 1880. “We had always heard from our ancestors that he (Dhan Singh) had written the aarti of Badrinath temple that is sung to this day. The manuscript was kept in our family home for centuries and it mentions the year when it was written,” said 87-year-old Avtar Singh Bartwal, who is the fifth generation after Dhan Singh Bartwal.

Bartwal’s manuscript has eleven stanzas while the present aarti has seven. The two versions are same, except that the first four paras of Bartwal’s are not there in Badruddin’s invocation.

Petshali, however, said Badruddin had written the invocation in a book format. “The name written on the book published in 1867 is Al Mustahar, Munsheen Naseeruddin,which was the title of the writer Badruddin, and mentions his address as post office Nandprayag (in Rudraprayag district),” said Petshali.

SS Negi, professor of ancient history at the Garhwal University in Srinagar, said he cannot comment on Bartwal’s manuscript till he sees it. “There has been a general perception here that Badruddin wrote the aarti but I cannot comment whether it was original or not,” he said. 

Negi said it is believed, though not historically verified, that Badruddin wrote the aarti in 1865, two years before the book was published. “He was supposed to have been named Faqruddin but changed it to Badruddin on the name of the Badrinath temple.”

He said that Badruddin was from Nandprayag, which was then a common route for yatra and Muslims were part and parcel of the pilgrimage.

First Published: Aug 05, 2018 09:14 IST

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